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ERIC Number: ED598351
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Sep
Pages: 84
Abstractor: As Provided
Educator Retention and Turnover under the Midnight Sun: Examining Trends and Relationships in Teacher, Principal, and Superintendent Movement in Alaska
Vazquez Cano, Manuel; Bel Hadj Amor, Hella; Pierson, Ashley
Regional Educational Laboratory Northwest
This study examines trends in educator turnover and retention, and the relationships of those trends to educator and school characteristics, during a six-year period (2012/13 to 2017/18, with 2011/12 as the base year) in Alaska. Turnover refers to educators leaving their positions, while retention refers to educators staying in their positions at schools and districts. The study also summarizes the retention strategies used by eight school districts from across the state. Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Northwest conducted this study in response to a request from a group of school superintendents who are members of the Alaska State Policy Research Alliance, a REL Northwest partnership. The alliance brings together policymakers and education stakeholders, including the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, the Alaska Superintendents Association, and the University of Alaska, to use research and evidence to inform state and local education policy. These stakeholders were seeking a more in-depth understanding of educator turnover and retention patterns in Alaska to inform the development and prioritization of recruitment and retention strategies by state and district policymakers. To address the stakeholders' request, the study team explored the following research questions: (1) What were the teacher, principal, and superintendent (educator) turnover rates by year in Alaska during the 2012/13 to 2017/18 school years? (2) What community, school, educator, and student characteristics are associated with educator turnover? and (3) What is the relationship between superintendent and principal turnover and teacher turnover? Key findings: (1) From 2012/13 to 2017/18, statewide turnover rates for teachers remained steady at around 22 percent. Rates for principals varied from 23 to 33 percent. Rates for superintendents fluctuated from 19 to 40 percent. Most of the teachers, principals, and superintendents who turned over were leavers, meaning they left the state or remained in the state but were no longer educators; (2) Turnover rates were higher in rural areas than in urban areas, with the highest rates in more remote schools; (3) Many teachers who changed districts moved from one rural school to another rural school; (4) Teachers and principals who were prepared outside Alaska and teachers who were in their first year in either their school or the Alaska K-12 school system were more likely to turn over the following year; (5) Lower salaries, holding more than one position, and teaching at more than one school site were related to increased teacher turnover; (6) High-poverty, high-diversity, and smaller schools were more likely to experience teacher turnover; and (7) Principal and teacher turnover were linked: Schools that experienced principal turnover also had high teacher turnover. We found no evidence that superintendent turnover was related to teacher or principal turnover. Implications: This study suggests that state and local policymakers may want to consider increasing the supply of Alaska-educated teachers; improving teacher working conditions, especially in rural schools; and equipping principals to better support teachers and leverage their input to improve educator retention. The implications of this study may also apply to rural districts and other communities that have many non-local educators.
Regional Educational Laboratory Northwest. Available from: Institute of Education Sciences. 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20208. Tel: 800-872-5327; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: Regional Educational Laboratory Northwest (ED); Education Northwest
Identifiers - Location: Alaska
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: EDIES17C0009